Belfast graphic designer Andy Henry will line up with the Northern Ireland squad for UEFA Euro 2016.
The 35-year-old has been chosen by the British Council and British Embassy to represent Northern Ireland at ‘The European Fresco’ — a huge collective artwork which will stretch over a kilometre along the River Seine during the duration of the tournament.
The project sees 24 artists from each of the participating countries create an image based on the colour of their country’s flag and main symbols, aiming to reflect their countries identity — and as part of it, the finished artwork must only use the shapes and lines linked to the geometry of the football pitch.
Andy’s piece is based on the Northern Ireland football crest and the colours of the Green and White Army.
Speaking about the project, he said: “Initially I wanted to do a piece based on George Best, arguably the greatest player of all time. For me, he represents not only Northern Irish football, but our own cultural identity.”
“Unfortunately, this didn’t match up to the design concept, and my finished piece really tested my design skills and creativity.”
Andy will fly out to Paris next Monday, June 6, for ‘The European Fresco’ inauguration ceremony. While there, he will also work with the Embassy on promotional material and attend the Queen’s 90th Birthday party at the Ambassador’s Residence.
He said: “Unfortunately I won’t be going to any of the football, but I’m really excited to be part of this project. From a design perspective, representing the Northern Ireland design industry at an international level is a great honour.
“It’s an ideal way for me to help put the Northern Irish team on the map and raise our profile in European football. I look forward to seeing the designs installed on the ground and gauging other people’s reactions.”
The 13mX6.5m Northern Ireland design will be launched next Wednesday (June 8) and will be showcased from the Eiffel Tower along the banks of the River Seine.
The initiative is part of a wider festival, The ‘Berges de l’Europe’ which will see the Seine riverbank come alive with concerts, workshops and tasting sessions during the UEFA Euro 2016.
Speaking about the project was David Alderdice, Director, British Council Northern Ireland, who said: “The European Fresco is a brilliant idea and we're very proud to have Andy representing Northern Ireland as one of the twenty four participating artists. It feels very special to be part of such an uplifting international cultural celebration.”
Juliana Cantin, GREAT Programe Manager, British Embassy also said:
“Broadening the cultural reach of the Euro 2016 to include national artists representing their native countries through the design of ground graffiti is a brilliant and innovative idea.
“An eye-catching 500m of artwork in a prime location near to the Eiffel Tower and the largest fanzone will ensure tremendous impact and the UK is proud to be represented by Welsh, English and Northern Irish artists.
The European Fresco runs in Paris from June 8 to July 10.
For more information on the work of British Council Northern Ireland, visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org